Hanukkah with latkes would be like, well, Christmas without a tree. Jews the world over eat fried foods at Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil (that a one-day supply of oil for the holy lamp burned for eight straight days until more could be obtained). In Eastern Europe and North America, the quintessential Hanukkah food is fried potato pancakes.
Deep-frying may be symbolic, but it's not particularly healthy. Some years ago, I began bake-frying my latkes in a hot oven to reduce the fat. (You "fry" them on a preheated oiled baking sheet in a superhot oven.) Bake-frying has another advantage: it makes a lot less mess in your kitchen. If possible, use Yukon gold potatoes. Their buttery flavor makes the bake-fried latkes taste almost as rich as the real thing. Note: I like to make cocktail-size, "mini" latkes that measure 2 to 2 1/2 inches across. (I find they cook better.) You can certainly make the latkes larger. To further trim the fat, you could use spray oil to grease the baking sheets, omitting the 2 to 3 tablespoons of canola oil.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME: 15 MINUTES
3 pounds potatoes (preferably Yukon golds)
1 medium onion
1/3 cup matzo meal or flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup egg substitute or 2 eggs and 4 whites
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
No- or low-fat sour cream for serving
Applesauce (page 147 of book ) for serving
1. Place a large nonstick baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
2. Peel the potatoes and onion and coarsely grate in a food processor fitted with a shredding disk or on a box grater. Grab handfuls of the grated vegetables and squeeze tightly between your fingers to wring out as much liquid as possible.
3. Transfer the grated vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir in the matzo meal, baking powder, egg substitute, parsley, and plenty of salt and pepper. The latkes should be highly seasoned.
4. Pour the oil on the hot baking sheet, spreading it around with the back of a wooden spoon. (Note: If working with small baking sheets, hold back half the oil, so you can "fry" the latkes in 2 batches.) Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto the baking sheet to form 2 1/2-inch pancakes, leaving 1 inch between each.
5. Bake the latkes until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula. (When you turn the latkes, try to flip them onto spots on the baking sheet that still have oil.) Transfer to plates or a platter and serve at once with sour cream and/or applesauce.
Makes 50 to 60 2-inch latkes, which will serve 8 to 10
246 CALORIES PER 8 SERVINGS; 7.4G PROTEIN; 6.3G FAT; 0.6G SATURATED FAT; 40G CARBOHYDRATE; 66MG SODIUM; 0.3MG CHOLESTEROL
reprinted with permission from Healthy Jewish Cooking by Steven Raichlen